ECKA commenced in July 2003 when 7 licenced kindergartens came together to take up the opportunity to form a “Group Employer” now called a “Early Years Manager (EYM)”, under the government funding arrangements at the time.
The seven founding kindergartens are Brown Hill Kindergarten, Ballarat North Kindergarten, Mt Clear Community Kindergarten, Mt Pleasant Kindergarten, Sebastopol Kindergarten, Sebastopol South Kindergarten, and Wendouree Preschool.
ECKA commenced with one part time Administration Manager, working from home, to manage the finances of the group and provide employment to the 12 permanent teachers and assistants and 6 casual staff, with approximately 180 enrolled children.
The government funding in 2003 covered 100% of the cost of ECKA Administration. In 2004 it was decided that the group needed support from a qualified and experienced Early Education Advisory Teacher, and the Kindergartens made a decision to contribute $10 each term for every child enrolled, to allow ECKA to employ an Early Education Advisor 4 hours per week, and cover some increasing administration costs.
Now, in 2017 ECKA manages 24 licenced early childhood education and care services with one full-time CEO, 8 part time administration staff, 114 permanent teachers and assistants and 35 casual staff to provide services for approximately 1400 children. The government funding now only covers approximately 65% of the costs of the management services provided. ECKA still employs Early Education Advisory Teachers to provide support to the Educators for 22 hours per week,
In 2008 the ECKA Board (at the time) engaged a consultant to assist in the development of a strategic plan for the organisation, which would change the structure of the Board to provide strong governance and leadership to the group. ECKA was one of the first Early Years Managers to make these changes and create a stronger business model to address the ever burning issues of high quality early childhood education and care services and sustainability. All EYM’s have now gone through similar governance restructure, and ECKA is recognised by Government as a leader in Kindergarten Cluster Management in Victoria.